Cuddyer's generosity garners Clemente Award nod

Cuddyer's generosity garners Clemente Award nod

Cuddyer's generosity garners Clemente Award nod
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer, who made a hospital visit to victims of a tragic movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., and has done many charitable deeds in Denver and his former home, Minnesota, is the Rockies' nominee for the 11th annual Roberto Clemente Award, presented by Major League Baseball and Chevrolet.

The Rockies made the announcement Tuesday.

Cuddyer said he has elected to earmark the $7,500 donation that Chevrolet has made in his name -- which the company does for each of the 30 club nominees -- to giveSPORTS, a project of A Precious Child Inc., which supports children in Colorado. The giveSPORTS program provides sports equipment for families that might not be able to afford it. Cuddyer was moved to make the donation because aspiring sports reporter Jessica Redfield Ghawi, who was killed in the July 20 mass shooting, was active in supporting the foundation.

A Precious Child Inc. has established the Jessica Redfield Ghawi giveSPORTS Scholarship Fund to cover the costs of registration, league and tournament fees, sports equipment and related expenses so children will have the opportunity to participate in organized sports.

"I was lucky enough to be nominated for this before, and I gave to an organization that did the same type of thing, gave sports equipment to kids or organizations that couldn't afford equipment," Cuddyer said. "I found out that she had started her own program for this."

Cuddyer also has committed to donating a larger gift that Chevrolet gives to the winner of the award -- which will be announced during the World Series -- to giveSPORTS.

In addition, upon signing with the Rockies during the offseason, Cuddyer purchased a suite at Coors Field where he hosts children from all walks of life, and he has donated school supplies to children in need.

"We are in a position where we can give back in a lot of ways, whether it be money, whether it be time, whether it be the fame and fortune that you have to be able to raise awareness for certain causes," Cuddyer said. "I make a cognizant effort to take advantage of that."

With the Twins, an organization with which he spent his first 14 professional seasons, Cuddyer established his "Cuddies Buddies" ticket program that allowed more than 25,000 children a chance to attend a Major League game that they might not have had. He also started the Michael Cuddyer Celebrity Waiter Dinner, during which teammates served dinner to guests. From 2007 to 2011, it raised more than $160,000 for Boys and Girls Clubs.

Cuddyer has long been involved with the Cheerful Givers organization, was on the Twins Community Fund board of directors and helped secure a $250,000 grant through the Pepsi Refresh Project that was donated to the Courage Center in Minnesota.

The Roberto Clemente Award recognizes a player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, such as sportsmanship and community involvement. It was named for the Hall of Famer and 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.